Meet the Athlete: The Art of the Takedown
By Ty Tilden
In the dimly lit wrestling room of Sandy High School, Garrett Head, a seasoned wrestler with a passion that traces back to his childhood, fights on the mat for his team, his reputation, and his family.
Head’s initiation into the world of wrestling began at the young age of five, when he got his start in the Barlow youth wrestling system. His family, deeply rooted in the wrestling community, played a pivotal role in steering him towards the mat. “My dad was actually the coach with Barlow. So that’s what got me into their system,” Head said, citing the familial ties that laid the foundation for his current wrestling career.
Being the eldest among his siblings and a junior in high school, Head’s journey took shape under the watchful eye of his father and coach. Wrestling wasn’t just a sport for the Heads; it was a family tradition, a legacy he willingly embraced. “You’re stuck with it for a while,” Head chuckled, acknowledging the inevitable entanglement with wrestling that shaped his early years.
For Garrett Head, the allure of wrestling lies in its perpetual challenge and the opportunity to learn something new every day. Head describes the sport as a continuous process of improvement, a sentiment that transcends the wrestling mat and permeates his daily life. “With other sports you kind of just know everything [that will happen], and you’re just getting better at this one thing. But [with wrestling] you can learn something new every day. I really like that,” he said, emphasizing the enduring appeal of the sport.
In the vein of perseverance through change, Head’s wrestling journey faced a pivotal moment when his father transitioned out of the coaching role at Barlow and into one at Sandy, before backing out of the business entirely. “My dad was the coach of Barlow. But now that I’m here [at Sandy High School], he is remembered as the coach and head coach. He’s not a wrestling coach here anymore, and it has been kind of a struggle,” Head admits. Wrestling through the challenges of change, he perseveres, despite not only family changes, but the lessening presence of his day-one coach.
At press time, the wrestling season in the Mt. Hood Conference is yet young. Last season, Head found great success, placing at the state wrestling championship. The anticipation of repeating that success hangs in the air as Head reflects on his dedication to the sport. Wrestling isn’t confined to the regular season for him; it’s a year-round commitment. “I just like to do it so much, I continue wrestling even when it’s the offseason,” he said.
Wrestling is often an individual sport as much as it is a team one, and much of the dedication required to succeed is mental. Perseverance – on the mat, through one’s family circumstance, and during coaching change – is a hallmark of the determination and psyche that has held such an important role in Head’s success.